Mariam uz-Zamani Begum Sahiba (Imperial Princess), née Rajkumari (Princess) Hira Kunwari, alias Harkha Bai (October 1, 1542 – 1622) was a Rajput princess who became the Mughal Empress, after her marriage to Mughal Emperor Akbar. She was the eldest daughter of Kachwaha Rajput, Raja Bharmal of Amber, the older name of the Rajput State of Jaipur.
Her notability arises from her marriage to the Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar. She was also the mother of emperor Nuruddin Salim Jahangir, her husband's heir.
Her name as recorded in Mughal chronicles was Mariam-uz-Zamani. This is why the mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum was constructed in Lahore, Pakistan, in her honor. She has been also referred to as Jodha Bai or Jodhabai. Hira Kunwar, Akbar's first Rajput wife, was the eldest daughter of Raja Bhar Mal of Amber. She was also the sister of Bhagwandas and the aunt of Man Singh I of Amber, who later became one the nine jewels (Navaratnas) in the court of Akbar.
The Mosque of Mariyam Zamani Begum was built by her son Nuruddin Salim Jahangir and is situated in the Walled City of Lahore, Pakistan, while Mariam's Tomb is situated one km away from Tomb of Akbar the Great, at Sikandra, near Agra.
Rajkumari Hira Kunwari was married to Akbar on January 20, 1562, at Sambhar, near Jaipur. Jodha bai was actually known as aarushi bai who was from the city of kota from rajasthan, India. Aarushi bai was very beautiful. She was Akbar's third wife and one of his three chief queens. Akbar's first queen was the childless Ruqaiyya Begum, and his second wife was Salima Sultan, the widow of his most trusted general, Bairam Khan. After her marriage, Hira Kunwari was given the title Mariam-uz-Zamani ("Mary of the Age").
She is said to have been politically involved in the court until Nur Jahan became empress.
Like few other women at the Mughal court, Maryam-uz-Zamani could issue official documents (singularly called farman), which was usually the exclusive privilege of the emperor. Maryam Zamani used her wealth and influence to build gardens, wells, and mosques around the country.
In 1586, she arranged a marriage of her son, Prince Salim (later Jahangir), to her niece, Princess Manmati (Manbhawati Bai), who was the mother of Prince Khusrau Mirza.
Maryam Zamani owned and oversaw the ships that carried pilgrims to and from the Islamic holy city Mecca. In 1613, her ship, the Rahīmī was seized by Portuguese pirates along with the 600-700 passengers and the cargo. When the Portuguese officially refused to return the ship and the passengers, the outcry at the Moghul court was quite severe. Zamani's son, the Indian emperor Jahangir ordered the seizure of the Portuguese town Daman. This episode is considered to be an example of the struggle for wealth that would later ensue and lead to colonization of India.
Maryam Zamani died in 1622. As per her last wishes, a vav or step well was constructed by Jahangir. Her tomb, built in 1611, is on the Tantpur road now known as in Jyoti Nagar. Her tomb is now known as "Jodhabai ki chhatri". She was buried according to Islamic custom. Her tomb is situated in a colony which reduced its chances of becoming a tourist place and this also increased the carelessness by the Government. But in the middle of year 2010 Historical department showed there interest for saving it when this news spread through media. Now the government is taking a good care of tomb and is guarded and much more safe.
The misnomer Jodha Bai
There is popular perception that the Rajput wife of Akbar, mother of Jahangir, was known as "Jodha Bai".
In Tuzuk-e-Jahangiri she is referred as Mariam Zamani. Neither the Akbarnama (a biography of Akbar commissioned by Akbar himself), nor any historical text from the period refer to her as Jodha Bai. Tuzk-e-Jahangiri, the autobiography of Jahangir, doesn't mention Jodha Bai either.
According to Professor Shirin Moosvi, a historian of Aligarh Muslim University, the name "Jodha Bai" was first used to refer to Akbar's wife in the 18th and 19th centuries in historical writings. According to the historian Imtiaz Ahmad, the director of the Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library in Patna, the name "Jodha" was used for Akbar's wife for the first time by Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod, in his book Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan.
According to Professor N R Farooqi, a historian of Allahabad Central University, Jodha Bai was not the name of Akbar's Rajput queen; it was the name of Jahangir's Rajput wife Princess Manmati of Jodhpur, whose real name was Jagat Gosain.
Protests against the film Jodhaa Akbar
The controversy over the name "Jodha Bai" is a matter of historical debate in Rajasthan, with various Rajput organisations taking the field against the director of the movie, Ashutosh Gowariker, for not portraying history correctly.
In 2008, a section of the Rajput community in Rajasthan protested against the Hindi film, Jodhaa Akbar, released on 15 February 2008, which is about Akbar and his wife Hira Kunwari/Mariam-uz-Zamani. The wife of Akbar has been referred to as "Jodha Bai" in the movie, which has led to much controversy as a similar sounding name "Jodh Bai" is addressed to Princess Manmati of Jodhpur, the wife of Jahangir (Akbar and Mariam-uz-Zamani's son) and mother of emperor Shahjahan. Mariam-uz-Zamani was mentioned by the same name "Jodha Bai" in the 1960 movie Mughal-e-Azam.